Top-read stories of the week on |

Top-read stories of the week on

Heather Jarvis
On Monday, March 27, members of Loveland Ski Area ski patrol, pictured above, took part in an avalanche rescue training program. On Friday, March 24, 35-year-old Cole Barker, of Silver Plume, died after colliding with a tree. According to the Clear Creek County coroner, ski patrollers removed Barker's body before he could properly investigate the scene.

Editor’s note: Below is a list of the top 5 most-read stories on the week of March 26.

1. Clear Creek coroner: Loveland Ski Area ski patrol mishandled dead skier’s body

There wasn’t much to see by the time a Clear Creek County sheriff’s deputy arrived on the scene of a skier death at Loveland Ski Area on the morning of March 24. At 10:38 a.m., ski patrol called the sheriff’s office. At 10:54 a.m., a ski patroller pronounced Cole Barker dead. Then — before investigators had arrived on the scene and without even closing down the run — ski patrollers shuttled Barker’s body down the hill and began cleaning up the gruesome scene.

Colorado law prohibits moving a dead body from the scene of the accident without the authority of the coroner. But when the deputy arrived, the area had been cleared of evidence that significantly contributes to a death investigation.

“There wasn’t much of a scene by the time we got there,” said Clear Creek County Coroner Chris Hegmann, who was disturbed that the body had not been kept at the site of the accident. “The body is not supposed to be moved. It is in the statute.”

2. Skier dies at Loveland Ski Area Friday

A 35-year-old skier died Friday morning, March 24, at Loveland Ski Area, following an incident near the bottom of the Clear Creek County resort’s Lift 8. According to an eyewitness who was one of the first to discover the accident, it appeared the man had skied directly into a tree. The skier was unconscious, she said, and it was quickly apparent he had suffered serious enough injuries that it was beyond the level of treatment those immediately upon him could provide. The skier was identified as Silver Plume resident Cole Barker.

3. Report: Faulty hardware, ‘human error’ led to fatal Flight for Life crash in Frisco

A combination of faulty hardware and human error likely led to a tragic Frisco helicopter crash that claimed the life of pilot Patrick Mahany and severely injured two passengers in 2015, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. According to the investigators, a hydraulic switch that provided pressure to tail rotor flight controls was in the off position when the helicopter took off, causing the aircraft to start spinning counterclockwise while gaining roughly 100 feet of altitude before plunging to the ground. If Maheny had performed a standard “hover check” before takeoff , he likely would have noticed the issue, but a recommended alert system was not installed by Air Methods Corporation.

The crash was survivable, federal investigators said, but the helicopter was not equipped with a crash-resistant fuel system. That led to the post-impact fire that claimed Mahany’s life and severely burned one of the two Flight for Life nurses onboard.

4. Summit County sheriff investigates threat of gun violence at middle school

The Summit County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a possible threat of violence at the Summit Middle School in Frisco. The sheriff’s office received an anonymous tip at 9:15 p.m. on Tuesday, March 28 that a male eighth-grader was threatening to commit gun violence against multiple students at the school. Deputies quickly arrived at the suspect’s resident and began an investigation.

5. High Country Crime: Notorious Aspen con man gets six years

A roundup of crime news from the region includes a con man who was sentenced to state prison terms of three and six years for his actions tied to illegally building a shack on Aspen Mountain. In Glenwood Springs, a father finds a bag of cocaine in his daughter’s boyfriend’s wallet, and turns the man in. And, a 40-year-old woman shows up to the probation department of the Garfield County Courthouse with methamphetamine that was discovered because she also had an active felony warrant.

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